The first phase of elections in 24 municipalities ended on Monday afternoon amid reports of sporadic clashes and allegations of ballot-stuffing at polling stations.
The Election Commission (EC) said at least 60% of voters had cast their ballots in the polls.
Voting in 24 municipalities kicked off at 8am and ended at 4pm through electronic voting machines (EVM) amid heightened security.
The Business Standard district correspondents reported many voters were agitated since they were forced to vote for mayoral candidates from the ruling party. There were also numerous allegations against Awami League men, who barred voters, instead casting ballots on their own.
Some voters were also indignant when their fingerprints failed to match those in the EC server. Allegations also ran rife against law enforcement, as they stood idle while the irregularities continued.
In Panchagarh, the returning officer's car was vandalised, in Pabna two candidates boycotted the vote, an on-duty journalist was beaten and a mayoral candidate died of Covid-19 in Khulna.
The municipalities that went to polls on Monday are as follows: Panchagarh, Pirganj in Thakurgaon, Phulbari in Dinajpur, Badarganj in Rangpur, Kurigram, Putia and Katakhali in Rajshahi, Shahjadpur in Sirajganj, Chatmohor in Pabna, Khoksha in Kushtia, Chuadanga, Chalna in Khulna, Betagi in Barguna, Kuakata in Patuakhali, Uzirpur and Bakerganj in Barisal, Gafargaon in Mymensingh, Madan in Netrakona, Manikganj, Dhamrai in Dhaka, Dirai in Sunamganj, Barolekha in Moulvibazar, Shayesthaganj in Habiganj, and Sitakunda in Chattogram.
Referring to field reports, EC Senior Secretary Md Alamgir told the press in Dhaka in the evening that no municipality clocked less than 60% turnout.
"Even 70-75% has been seen in some municipalities. The first phase of the municipality polls has been very successful and voter turnout was remarkable," he noted.
In Panchagarh, miscreants vandalised the car of Returning Officer Md Alamgir at Panchagarh Collectorate Adarsh Shiksha Niketan polling centre. A police officer, who was in charge of his security, was also injured in the attack.
In Pabna's Chatmohar municipality, two independent candidates boycotted the polls in the morning in the light of various complaints, including one in which their polling agents were sent away from the polling station.
They were contesting the elections as independent candidates after failing to secure nominations from Awami League and BNP.
The candidates who boycotted the vote are the current mayor and former Joint General Secretary of the Upazila Awami League Mirza Rezaul Karim and rebel BNP candidate Abdul Mannan.
Many voters, including candidates themselves, could not cast their votes at several polling stations in Rajshahi's Puthia municipality due to mismatched fingerprints. Till the afternoon, it was still not known whether they had found another way to cast their ballots.
Clashes erupted between supporters of two mayoral candidates at a polling station In Khulna's Chalna municipality.
Police charged batons to bring the situation under control. According to police and local sources, supporters of Awami League-backed mayoral candidate Sanat Kumar Biswas and independent candidate Achintya Kumar Mandal were engaged in the clash.
BNP mayoral candidate Abul Khair Khan was diagnosed with Covid-19 after submitting nomination papers for Khulna's Chalna municipality. He was subsequently admitted to the hospital, where he died at 3.30 pm Monday.
In Dhamrai municipality, a correspondent of daily Prothom Alo was injured while on-duty.
He took some pictures of irregularities inside a polling station, which enraged presiding officer Azizul Haque, who seized the reporter's mobile phone, deleted the photos, and then assaulted him.
The EC will hold the second phase of the municipality polls in 61 municipalities on 16 January. It also announced 30 January as the date for the third phase of the polls, covering 64 municipalities.